Author Topic: Alto String Instruments  (Read 1175 times)

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Alto String Instruments
« on: February 07, 2019, 09:32:25 AM »
I am looking to create an orchestra piece depicting a descent into Hell, and want to create a part where you can imagine demons running around at the bottom of the chasm that opens. To do this, I was wondering if there is a string instrument in the alto register that can perform fast runs and give this appropriate feel with the right background instruments. If you suggest any instruments other than a string instrument for this purpose, that input is welcome.


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Re: Alto String Instruments
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 10:31:07 AM »
Why not use a viola or a cello?
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Re: Alto String Instruments
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 12:55:35 PM »
the art of orchestration isn't so much the use of a single instrument, but rather, the skillful use of multiple instruments and techniques to achieve the desired effect.

let me give you an example: "what colour should I use to depict hell in a painting?"
the answer would be: many colours. if you use only one you will get basically a monochrome canvas. but the skillful balancing of many colours is what will lead to the maximum effect. For example, yes, let reds and oranges predominate but then, the judicious use of blacks and greys, and even some blues, will create contrasts that bring out he principal use of the reds and related hues.

So in the same way, to achieve an effect as you describe musically, (and obviously, each composer will approach this differently) you could use a mixture of textures like some tremolos and sul ponticellos in some lower strings, rapid figurations with bass clarinet and clarinet played in the chalumeau register are good for creating a "flurry" effect, even contrasting some high tremolo and sul pont. strings (violins).
Add growling textures with trombones - either glissandi, or trills, or simply the use of extreme hairpins (from very soft to very loud and then back down to very soft within very short periods of time, repeated dissonant chords in the horns placed low and spaced closely.

These are just a few example of total effect that you could use for the desired result.

However, don't get trapped into thinking "one instrument to create an effect". Think "many instruments and techniques to create an effect".
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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Alto String Instruments
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 07:04:48 PM »
On the other hand, you could try a musical saw, in combination with, say, a bass drum.
Or this interesting hybrid:
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